Synonym(s): Panicum gouinii
Family: Poaceae (Grass Family)
Duration and Habit: Perennial Grass/Grasslike
Torpedograss is a perennial grass that can reach up to 3 ft. (1 m) tall. Plants have long, creeping rhizomes with sharp-pointed (torpedo-like) tips. Leaves are linear, flat or folded, 10 in. (26 cm) long, 0.3 in. (5.3 mm) wide with a whitish, waxy covering. Leaf sheaths can be glabrous or hairy and the ligule is membranous with short hairs. Flowering occurs nearly year round. Flowers develop in branched, open inflorescences that are 2.8-7.1 in. (7-18 cm) long.
Ecological Threat: Quickly forms monocultures that displace native vegetation, particularly in or near shallow waters
Biology & Spread: Stimulated in its spread by tilling and fertilization. Reproduces principally by rhizome extension and fragmentation. Fowers nearly year-round, but variable in its seed abundance and viability
History: Torpedograss is native to Africa and Eurasia and was introduced into the United States around 1876.
U.S. Habitat: This species can occur in a wide variety of habitats. Plants are usually found in damp soils of riparian zones, but can also be found in pastures and on sand dunes. Plants are salt
U.S. Nativity: Introduced to U.S.
Native Origin: Africa and Eurasia
U.S. Present: AL, CA, FL, HI, LA, MS, NC, SC, TX
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Preventative: Preventive control can be accomplished by preventing the spread and fragmentation of rhizomes. This can be very difficult because if even a tiny fragment of rhizome is left in an area, it will reestablish itself. Control of infestations near waterways will prevent long-range spread via water and this should be a priority. If mowing or tillage is used, care must be taken to prevent transport of rhizome or stolon fragments.
Cultural: Weeds such as torpedograss generally invade open or disturbed areas following a burn, clearing mowing, etc., so these areas are particularly vulnerable to invasion. Therefore, a healthy ecosystem with good species diversity will help to deter infestation.
Mechanical: There are limited agents being studied for biological control of torpedograss, although Dr. Charudattan at the University of Florida has been evaluating a species of fungus. Torpedograss is very palatable for cows and goats, and grazing may be integrated in an overall management scheme.
Biological: There are limited agents being studied for biological control of torpedograss, although Dr. Charudattan at the University of Florida has been evaluating a species of fungus. Torpedograss is very palatable for cows and goats, and grazing may be integrated in an overall management scheme.
Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants. 2009. Panicum repens: Torpedo Grass. University of Florida, IFAS.
Florida Exotic Pest and Plant Council. Panicum repens: torpedo grass. Accessed February 2009: http://www.fleppc.org/ID_book/Panicum%20repens.pdf.
Miller, J.H. 2003. Nonnative invasive plants of southern forests: a field guide for identification and control. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-62. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 93 pp (USDA SRS).
Bugwood Network. Bugwood.org
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